Tag Archives: teens

Puberty Books of the Damned: So You Want to Be a Model?

Brace yourselves; it’s TEENWORKS time!

But first, something fun: I am lending my voice to The Misfit Fleet, a new podcast created by  my friends Finnegan O’Riordan and Maggie Roberts! The Misfit Fleet is a steampunk series following the comic misadventures of a band of sky pirates. Something I really like about it is that it features loads of gay and transgender characters. Another thing I like is that my character, Captain Jackson Jeffries, is a bit of a dipshit. Everyone knows the dumb characters are the most fun to play. Misfit Fleet ProductionsListen to the first episode here. And listen to me try to pronounce “Finnegan O’Riordan” here. (“Fusspot O’Reacharound” was my personal contribution, and one I’m very proud of.) Now, on to the WORKS of the TEEN.

Fashion Advice

The writers of TEENWORKS included a lengthy section on fashion that I’ve mostly skirted till now, since there’s not a lot to say about it. It includes such helpful tidbits as: “Berets are fast becoming a staple of every teen’s autumn and winter wardrobe,” and “Great news…there are pants for everybody!” Eye-opening stuff. However, I seriously doubt you want to take fashion advice from the people who bring you these get-ups.

Fancy dress

Gold pants + David Bowie mullet = TIMELESS

Mickey Mouse outfit

Where do I even start.

Snowpant Leg Warmers

Leg-warmers made out of snowpants material were once a thing. Aren’t ya glad?

So You Want to Be a Model?

Imagine you’re a teen. If you’re actually a teen, imagine you’re an even teenier teen. You have your mullet, your snowpants leg-warmers, and your unreasonably large Mickey Mouse shirt. You look cute. You feel cute. So cute, in fact, that you’re considering starting a career based around your cuteness. You want to be a model. So You Want to Be a Model?When they say that “modeling has a down side,” what they actually mean is “you have a down side. Loads of down sides. Keep your day job and shovel some more of those cake pops into your face, you disgusting boo hog.” Modeling, you see, has some rather stringent requirements. Modeling: General Requirements“The emphasis today is on natural beauty,” they say, before listing a whole bunch of specs 99% of women will never be able to obtain the natural way. At a bare minimum, It’s going to require a pact with Azathoth, who will probably make you eat a baby or six. But maybe I’m just bitter. Maybe I’m exaggerating the narrow aesthetic standards of the modeling industry because I’m too lazy to achieve them–at least, the natural way. There is this modern marvel known as Photoshop…

11 to 23 years old


Twenty-three passed me by a year or two…or three…or five…ago. There’s not a lot I can do about that, unless I falsify a lot of documents. Oh well. Let’s move on to the next thing. 5'7" to 5'11"All right, that’s not so bad. I’m already five-six-and-a-half, which looks like this: Avion's wedding I just need to lengthen those legs a leeeeettle beet. Take it away, CS4! Longer legsThere we go. Let’s look at the next requirements. WeightAgain, I’m close. Depending on how hard I’m period-ing, I’m anywhere from five to ten pounds too heavy. Let’s shave a bit of that excess fat off.


I’d go further, but there’s only so much liquifying an image can survive.

So far, so good. What’s next? FaceNo fair, TEENWORKS–that’s like seven requirements! These are harder to meet, too. My face is, to put it charitably, somewhat less than ideal. I’ve got tiny eyes, a regular nose, acne, and a small mouth. All I’ve got going for me, from a modeling perspective, are a high forehead and high cheekbones, though you can’t see the latter under all the baby chub. So, let’s see. Enlarge the eyes. Shrink the nose. Widen the mouth. Delete some chub. And hell, might as well raise the forehead a little more while we’re at it. And voila!



That sure is…something. On second thought, maybe I’ll leave this one to Azathoth.

Shitty Photoshop

Nailed it?


Fundamentalist YA: In the Chat Room with God

When I was eleven years old, my dad got us hooked up to the Internet for the first time. As I’ve mentioned before, there wasn’t a whole lot to do on the web at the time apart from asking Jeeves if he was gay and waiting 45 minutes for a five-second gif of Goku punching Frieza to download.

I'll ask if he's gay!

Never before has a single image more accurately summarized my childhood. (www.quickmeme.com)

Thanks to the dearth of other options, the primary destination for any newly-wired child in those days was the chat room. I spent several of my formative years in the Geocities rooms, talking to total strangers about their pets and their sexual proclivities, crouching meekly behind my chosen handle: GingerSnaps12. “Ginger Snaps,” because that was my dog’s name, and “12” because I was pretending to be twelve. Not thirteen, which was the actual minimum age for Geocities chat. My reasoning must have been that I could pass for twelve easy, but thirteen was too much of a stretch.

By the turn of the new millennium, chat rooms had started to die off and were supplanted by instant messaging programs, chief among them AOL Instant Messenger. The authors of today’s book, In the Chat Room with God, were a bit slow to cotton on to the changing landscape. No self-respecting teen used a chat room in the Year of Our Lord 2002. Then again, there’s a lot of things in this book that no self-respecting teen would do.

In the Chat Room with God

“You guys are using a chat room in the 21st century? How basic are you!?” -God

In the Chat Room with God represents that most futile of beasts, media that seeks to make Christianity hip and relevant to the modern adolescent. It was written by two brothers: Todd, who heads Hallmark’s book division, and Jedd, who became a Christian stand-up comedian in an attempt to wrest the title of “Least Cool and Street-Credible Job” from his brother’s grasp. Who better to penetrate the six inches of ossified irony shielding the heart of the average teen and show them how legit God really is?

LOL God.


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College Slang 101: How to Talk Like the Cool Kids (in 1989)

College Slang 101, by Connie ElbeWhat the hell are kids even on about these days? With their “adorbz” and their “baes” and their :”social justice for alls,” they sound like that talking lion that popped out of my pillow after I accidentally double-dosed on Ambien. They’re incomprehensible, is what I’m saying. Especially once they get to college.

Fortunately, I have in my hands the definitive guide to college slang! Unfortunately, it’s from 1989. Let’s glean what we can from it anyway.

The Basics
The words making up this lexicon are derived, as far as I can tell, from the personal experiences of Connie Elbe, an English professor at the University of North Carolina. While that would seem to limit our scope to the words one particular teacher’s students used in one particular year on one particular campus, Professor Elbe assures us that: “College Slang 101 is a really ‘rad’ (excellent) book for word mavens of all stripes and anyone who wants to understand the ‘second language’ of students across the country.”

Don’t be intimidated, though. She doesn’t chuck her readers into the deep end straight off. Like any good teacher, she begins with the basics.

BarfThanks, Connie Elbe.

Memory Lane
Embarrassing admission: while some of these are new to me, I’m actually just old enough to remember a lot of them. Here’s one I hadn’t thought about it a while…


…because it enrages me and my doctor wants me to watch my blood pressure.

And another:

Know what I mean, Vern?

What the hell do you mean ‘commercials,’ Elbe? This is a quote from ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS, you uneducated swine!

That’s Not What I Thought It Meant
Languages evolve. Nowhere is that more evident than in some of the phrases Elbe lists, which, though apparently innocuous in 1989, have since become a little more risque.





Get off

Congrats, Coye.

That I am an immature perv is perhaps beyond dispute, but if someone says: “All I wanted to do was get off, but those wankers won’t stop pegging me,” I like to think most of us would work up a pretty healthy blush. And possibly call the authorities.

The Best of the Best
At heart, though, I’m a fan of slang. It’s fun and keeps the language fresh. In that spirit, I present to you my favorite entries from College Slang 101:

Turd Poodle

Where has this term been all my life?


I’d never be rude or misogynist enough to use it for its intended purpose–but I’m still strangely glad it exists.

Fratty bagger

Beats the hell out of “bro.”

English Channel Eyes

Fantastic! Truly! How could you not love this phrase?

This has been a primer on youth slang. I hope you find your newly-acquired vocabulary useful in bridging the generational gap. If not, well…that’s just NS2, you gooby, jacked-up wimp dog.

Puberty Books of the Damned: How to Say No (Like a Sociopath)

A very bored teenage boy.

Here we go again! It’s time for another round of pointers from those Admirable Adjuncts of Adolescent Advice over at TEENWORKS. They’ve taught you how to flirt, make friends, and walk on your buttcheeks. Now they’ll instruct you on the fine art of turning someone down.

If you’ve been following the TEENWORKS method to the letter, you should be enjoying the kind of long-lasting relationship that makes your friends groan in envy. Each day should be a fresh study in unspeakable bliss, marked by moonlit strolls and amorous exclamations like the following:

I'd rather go to the movies with him than have a private audience with the King of England!

That’s fortunate, given current English monarchical realities.

But what if you’ve fallen short somehow? What if you’ve played the wrong hand, spoken the wrong line, attracted the wrong man? What if–heaven forfend–you actually need to reject somebody? How can you shake a sub-par would-be suitor?

Don’t Be Direct
One thing you definitely don’t want to do is be direct. The consequences of an improperly softened “no” can be disastrous.

A harsh no can put a guy off dating for an entire term!

An entire term, ladies! In a society that caters endlessly to the young male ego, a single “no” can break a guy. The most tedious of women’s libbers might suggest we condition young boys in such a way that they can cope when life fails to hand them everything on a platter, but let’s be real: isn’t it easier to keep training girls to cushion the blow?

“Sorry,” you might say. “Although you are extremely virile, I need to wash my hair tonight.”

“It’s not you, it’s me,” you might also try. “Your masculinity overwhelms me; also, I’m overdue for a vigorous round of buttcheek jogging.”

“Please don’t feel bad,” you could additionally remark. “I can’t be in a relationship until I sort through my problems. My vagina problems. In my vagina.”

If He Can’t Take the Hint
Sometimes subtlety runs off teenage boys like piss off a plastic bed sheet. TEEN WORKS acknowledges this. In fact, TEEN WORKS indirectly recognizes the possibility that a guy might miss the message eight or nine times.

Can't you take a hint?

The above question is from a quiz called “Are You a Caring Person?” If you choose Option A, it means you’re a callous jerk. (Whether it also means that Ben is a pushy lunatic, TEENWORKS doesn’t say.) Again, you can’t be too direct–so what do you do?

The answer lies in the immortal words of Seal: you’re never gonna survive, Dear Reader, unless you get a little crazy.

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